by Jane Conner-ziser Published 01/08/2008
Next it was off to Corel Painter where I cloned the file and used the Airbrush/Digital Airbrush to paint a white border around the image. Closing the initial file, I cloned the one with the border and opened the Auto Painting window.
The settings Smart Stroke Painting and Smart Settings were checked and I chose to use the Artist Category/Sargent Brush, cloning colour. Clicking on the Play icon, I was able to sit back and let Painter create the under-painting for me. 
I like to use the Auto Painting option when there is a lot of background to work up, but it's important to remember that it's step one of a three-step painting process (Under Painting, Focal Point Development then Details and Decorations). I thought the edges were too digital-looking so I went back with a larger Sargent Brush to get a rougher edge. A smaller Sargent Brush was used to add detail to the subjects and some of the flowers around them, In addition, I stopped using the Clone Color option so I could add some of my own colours - blue, cyan, red and orange. Even with the additions of detail, I felt that the painting had lost definition and 'flower excitement' so I made a quick Image Hose Nozzle from some of the original sunflowers and hosed them across the image, randomizing them with the Distort/Pinch brush and then tying them into the rest of the
I liked it, but I didn't love it...I wanted to feel bright and sunny when I looked at the painting, but something about it said 'drab', which is common when turning outdoor photography into painting - the world has so many colours that photography just doesn't capture! I decided to use one of my 'secret weapons' - Nik Color Effects Pro/Sunshine and it was the perfect choice! The painting came alive and I was happy to send Clay something fun and exciting to deliver to his customer.
Afternoon Delight didn't take a long time to paint - in fact, it was very simple and worked up quickly, once I got started. The challenge was making the right decision of how to handle the image and coming up with 'The Plan'. My advice to photo artists? Don't limit yourself or your market by using only one style - be a chameleon! It's great creative exercise and you just might surprise yourself with what you can do. Thirty plus years of experience says that longevity is in knowing how to bring out the best of the photographs using a variety of styles and applications. The more tricks you have in your bag of creativity, the more opportunity you will have. 
Thanks, Clay, for a fun painting experience with Afternoon Delight!
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